Morgan Silver Dollars – What Are the Key Dates?

The Morgan Silver dollar is one of the most popular coins amongst both investors who collect Morgan dollars for their strong growth in value and numismatic collectors who collect them for their aesthetic, historical and cultural value. You can find Morgan dollars for sale on eBay and other online coin sites but they can also be purchased from mail order companies and coin stores.

The Morgan Silver Dollar was first minted in 1878 in Philadelphia, Carson City, New Orleans, and Denver in 1921. It was named and designed by George T. Morgan. It features a portrait of Lady Liberty on the front and an eagle on the reverse. Unlike the coins in circulation today the Morgan silver dollar was comprised of 90% silver and so held intrinsic value.

The price of silver has increased in monetary terms by over 3 fold in recent years so the bullion content of this coin itself is an investment. However the true value of these coins can be found in key date coins that are rarer and worth far more than their weight in silver. For example coins minted by the Carson City mint in the years 1878 through to 1892 can fetch thousands of dollars if the coin is of a high grade.

If you own a Morgan silver dollar how do you know how much your coin is worth and whether it is from a key date. The date and where the coin was minted can be found on the reverse of the coin, underneath the eagle. For example a coin minted by the New Orleans Mint will have the initial O and a coin minted by the Carson City Mint will have the initials CC and S for the San Francisco Mint.

To find out how much your coin is worth you should purchase a reliable book on old American coins. A book I suggest is the Official Red Book Guide to United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman which lists all the key date coins and the values for each grade. You could also search eBay auctions for the same coin and grade and see how much it is being sold for.

Generally speaking Morgan silver dollars minted on specific dates tend to appreciate in value the greatest. These are referred to as Key Dates. They Key date coins are the following – 1878CC through to 1892CC are all key date coins. Others include 1886S, 1888S, 1892S, 1893, 1893O, 1893S*, 1894*, 1895**, 1895O, 1895S, 1896S, 1903O, 1903S, 1904S. You should realize that these coins can be worth several thousands of dollars in uncirculated condition where as a coin from any of these key dates that is only of a Fine grade is unlikely to be worth more than $100. This serves as a reminder of the importance of grading a coin correctly and the extent to which the grade or condition of a coin affects its value.

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